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Four minor issues with the Kindle 3

Woman: "Sorry but I dig guys with Kindles."

Calm down, Kindle 3 freaks.
This will not delve into the great big Apple iPad-Amazon Kindle dialectic.
Both have their upsides and their setbacks, not to mention their respective users who swear that their gadgets can establish world peace, make a cocktail, and hunt down Osama Bin Laden while fixing Grandpa’s diapers.
But one thing is as certain as President Noynoy Aquino’s alopecia.
The Kindle is far superior to the iPad as far as reading eBooks is concerned. The secret is in its eInk technology, eliminating eye strain that usually accompanies extended reading on color monitors. (Of course, reading comic books and graphic novels is another matter altogether.)
Despite this upside, the Kindle — and the digital environment that accompanies it — does have features that could be improved, and possibly even integrated into the Kindle 4 (or whatever Jeff Bezos or his marketing guys may wish to call it).
So if you haven’t got a Kindle yet, quit reading this and go get yourself one. That way you know what all this quibbling is about. [See: Five reasons why Filipinos should get a K3Five more things to like about the K3]

1) Limited screensaver pictures

Enough said.

The K3 enables a screensaver every time you turn it off.
Except that a couple of the pictures may not appeal to certain segments of the reading population.
Take myself.
After a hard day at “work” — quotes supplied — I usually look forward to reading anything that’s been loaded onto my K3 (a volume of Calvin and Hobbes, a novel by Martin Amis, a book by Michael Lewis, a text file of the latest piece by Lewis Lapham in Lapham’s Quarterly).
However, a screensaver pic, including but not limited to, Harriet Beecher Stowe — with all due apologies to her, her friends, fans and relatives — just doesn’t do it for me.
I would much prefer a picture of Joan Holloway and the two Mrs. Donald Drapers, the former and the current.
Which is to say that Amazon should allow users to change and/or customize their Kindle screensavers for enhanced user interaction.
But then again, that’s just me and the products of what arguably is my superficial mind.

2) The Zebra Effect

Now this is what I call a cool screensaver. Christina Hendricks as Mad Men's Joan Holloway

Or at least that’s what I call it.
It’s the bug that occasionally occurs when the text being highlighted continues onto the other page.
As the cursor — and the highlighting process — moves to the other page, the line under the first word in the next page disappears, thereby temporarily confusing users.
Fortunately, this doesn’t affect the file entitled “My Note,” a file where all highlighted text in the K3 is automatically saved. The same file can be copied once the K3 is plugged into a computer.
Now why did I call it the Zebra effect? It sounds cool for one thing.

3) Limited text status updates

January Jones as Betty Draper, ex-wife of Donald Draper, Mad Men's protagonist

Once a block of text is highlighted, it can be posted on a user’s Facebook and Twitter accounts using the K3 on a WiFi connection.
But if the text is two paragraphs long or more, then you can forget it.
Amazon will parse the text, thereby sometimes making it less understandable to Facebook friends and Twitter followers who bothered to read it.
This happened to me more than once while quoting Michael Lewis, Henry David Thoreau, Henry Louis Mencken, among others.
It definitely took the fun out of tweeting and Facebook status updating. Tsk.

4) The keyboard

Jessica Paré as Megan Calvet who becomes Donald Draper's fiance in Mad Men

Could a keyboard be any less ergonomic than the one fitted in the K3? Yes, it can be found in old typewriters made way before anyone thought of the word ergonomic.
But seriously, the K3’s keyboard could use some adjustments such as better spacing between letters.
Whenever I use it to post tweets, I have pressed the “N” instead of “M” and vice-versa for as long as I can remember.
A keyboard redesign may be called for, Jeff B.
But then again, that’s just me and the products of what arguably is my superficial mind.

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  1. I may have an equally superficial mind since I do agree with all your four points there – although of course my screensaver preference is quite different from yours. But yeah, I have encountered the same problems (highlighted texts lost, number of characters exceeded, and N/M erroneously pressed). But I still love my Kindle. :-)

  2. “But seriously, the K3’s keyboard could use some adjustments such as better spacing between letters. Whenever I use it to post tweets, I have pressed the ‘N’ instead of ‘M’ and vice-versa for as long as I can remember.”

    — Don’t fault the Kindle. Your fingers are just too big for anything man-made. Hehe. :-)

  3. Booj, I used the Kindle for free 3G surfing. Only. Does that count?

  4. I thought I was at fault with the keyboard so its good knowing its a design flaw. Love my kindle! I havent tried the sharing functionality though.

  5. 5. The gray screen when turning the page. I don’t know, I just don’t like it. I suffer a minor heart attack for each time. Feels like my kindle will die on me. :D

    ..and oh, the “shared from a personal document” header each time you share a passage. It would have been less pretentious if they can put the actual Title and Author of the book. :D

    Ahh, but I love my kindle, I can forgive its minor flaws.

  6. the letters on the keys are rubbing off. any fixes for this problem

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